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Starting Point

News/Business. Soledad O'Brien. Soledad O'Brien looks ahead to the days top news and events. New.

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Libya 106, U.s. 103, Chris Stevens 31, Us 29, Cairo 28, Stevens 20, Clinton 17, United States 17, Shawn Smith 15, Egypt 14, Syria 10, Tripoli 9, America 9, Washington 8, Romney 8, John 8, Barbara Starr 7, Obama 7, Gadhafi 7, Afghanistan 6,
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  CNN    Starting Point    News/Business. Soledad O'Brien. Soledad O'Brien  
   looks ahead to the days top news and events. New.  

    September 12, 2012
    4:00 - 6:00am PDT  

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and millions of muslims. first, we want to bring in elise labott. she has known ambassador stevens for ten years. she works at the state department for us. elise this is a tragedy for the entire diplomatic community this morning. >> yes, yes. john, this is a terrible day for the state department. everyone is going to be in mourning today. it's not just the fact that chris stevens was such a popular figure of the state department. really, one of the cream of the crop of the u.s. foreign service. but it's been many years since someone of this level has been killed in an attack like this. so i think there's going to be a lot of shockwaves through the state department. after all the u.s. has done for the libyans. using force to get rid of moammar gadhafi, to help libya stand up as it moved towards elections, as it tries to start anew. i think there's going to be a lot of gut checking right now about how the u.s. wants to proceed. not just with libya.
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but with a lot of countries in the middle east. i mean if you look at the islamic wave that has swept the middle east in terms of these revolutions, the u.s. was very apprehensive, that we are going to support democratic movements. but they also said, secretary clinton has also said that an election does not a democracy make. and so these countries are not going to necessarily hold up to their end of the bargain. there are diplomatic conventions about protecting u.s. facilities. about holding to democratic values. and you saw some statements coming out of the libyan interior ministry right now blaming the united states, in fact, for something like this. i think thers going to be a lot of, you know, the u.s. is really going to hunker down and think about how they want to proceed now. not just in libya but in the whole region. >> elise, this is brooke. let me just, as john points out, you know, diplomats really are certainly mourning this morning and we're covering the ory, really there's no way any other network can. if we can just back up and if
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you can help us fill in the blanks as far as what exactly happened. here we are day two now of protests. we've been covering the protests in cairo and in benghazi. we remember covering the revolution, it was really the rebel stronghold last year. explain what exactly happened as far as this ambassador is concerned and the three other workers who were apparently with him in his car? >> details are very sketchy right now. what we understand is we knew yesterday, towards the end of the day, that as we were watching those pictures at the embassy in cairo, there were gunmen that had approached the u.s. consulate in benghazi, and breached the walls of the compound. and they were trying to secure the compound, secretary clinton put out a statement early this morning that one u.s. foreign service officer was killed. what we can piecing together, and again there hasn't been state department confirmation of the details, is that they were trying to take chris stevens, the ambassador, to libya, who is
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based in tripoli, i might add, and some other personnel out to safety, and there was a rocket attack and they were killed. >> you were mentioning before that these protesters were at the embassy in response to this movie about the prophet mohammed has outraged millions of muslims. the libyan deputy interior minister, he told a group of reporters at a presser not long ago that they were there marching toward the u.s. consulate with their weapons to protest the u.s. stance and the fact that the u.s. did not stop that insulting movie. when the consulate security guards overheard the gunfire, it seemed they felt the consulate was about to be attacked or underattacked so they started the fire from inside the consulate. this led to more fire from the crowd. is that what you were talking about when the libyans were almost seeming to blame the americans at this point? >> exactly. i think that when something like this happens, instead of showing the remorse for what happened and that the u.s. was there
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trying to protect them, saying that the u.s. was responding to these armed protesters in the wrong way, yes it's the u.s. job to protect their facilities. but it's really the libyans' job to protect their facilities. and if they thought these armed gunmen were harmless or something like that they should have been the front lines of security at the embassy to push them back. i'm not saying that the libyans don't have a right or perhaps understandably are upset about this type of movie. but we're talking about right now libya's trying to move towards democracy. and here in the united states, there was a lot of talk about this yesterday, the u.s. supports freedom of th press. freedom of expression. these are some of the things that the u.s. has talked about when it's talked about democracy, that everybody has a right to speak their mind, to express themselves, whether it's a movie, whether it's a protest. whether it's a cartoon. things like that. and they understand that you have to be sensitive in doing
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so, but to say that the u.s. did not respond to armed gunmen approaching the consulate in a wrong way or anger i think is going to raise a lot of eyebrows at the state department, because this morning secretary clinton called -- or last night, if you will, in libyan time, secretary clinton called the president of libya and said you better secure these facilities. that is your responsibility as a hoegs government. >> elise labott, do me a favor and stand by. we're going to keep coming back to you. i do want to bring in peter brooks. a former deputy assistant secretary of defense and a former cia officer, currently a senior fellow at the heritage foundation. peter, good morning to you. >> good morning. >> let me just begin with, wow, you know, revolution, we thought revolution can happen. we've covered these revolutions in both libya and egypt last year. and now we have this. in terms of diplomacy, as we go forward, how does the u.s. proceed, and how does -- how do
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both libya and egypt proceed, as well? >> very, very difficult. while we're in this very important political season here in the united states, we can't forget about what's going on overseas. i mean there's also syria, which we're not talking about this morning. but a lot of people thought that libya, perhaps, was moving in the right direction. although there was concerns about armed militias. the referendum. the constitution. things along that line. look at this terrible tragedy here. which seems to me, the more i think about it, brooke, it was a plot. they not only attacked the embassy, but then they had somebody laying in wait with an rpg to attack the ambassador's car. it's more than just a crowd going after the embassy protesting of internet film. so this is very, very troubling. egypt, there were 100 american businessmen there on a trade mission this week. the american state department has talked about dismissing a billion dollars in egyptian debt. and i've not heard much. now i'm here at cnn. but i haven't heard all of the news this morning. but i haven't seen a strong
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statement coming out of president morrissey of egypt about this issue. where are the security forces in this country. i want to see mug shots of the people that were involved in this. especially the attack on the ambassador. very, very important things that we have to be thinking about. >> specifically you mentioned moment mor mohamed mursi. you know, backed by muslim brotherhood. making efforts to communicate, to keep very, very strong ties with the west, and specifically the u.s. so far, no statement from him. you know, hearing from egyptian blogger last night on our air, he is mia. what do we need to hear from mohamed mursi? >> he's got to condemn the violence. and he's also got to say that he's going to track down these perpetrators and bring them to justice. that's what we need to see. but if i can channel mursi for a moment. he's very concerned because the groups that were probably involved in this attack in cairo are probably, you know, more radical than the muslim brotherhood. and he's very cautious about
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walking this fine line between the secularists, and the radicals. which is not easy at all for him. because he is a new president. but he's got to do the right thing. i think in the past we've seen him go after radicals, in a violent extremist in the sinai. he's got to do the right things here. security forces need to bring these people to justice, not only in cairo but obviously in libya, as well. >> on the phone joining us now, thank you, peter, is the former syrian ambassador. mr. stevens, chris stevens, worked for him when he was ambassador to syria and talk to us this morning about the chris stevens the man, the man who was in libya, the man who said he was thriving there, so enjoying being part of this change happening all over the arab world. >> chris stevens was one of the most brave and infectiously enthusiastic people i've known in the foreign service.
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i just awakened this morning to the news and i can't tell you how shocked and saddened i am. he was a great foreign service officer. he was incredibly positive. took on all the tough assignments. and there is a saying, a rather cynical one, that no good deed goes unpunished. and chris stevens did great deeds for the libyan people, and for this country during the libyan uprising. and it's just ironically tragic that of all the people, he was killed over some film that most americans have never even heard about. just -- >> ambassador kattouf. let me read you a statement that we found this morning that was on the u.s. embassy website, it's a haunting statement now, about chris stevens, and his time in libya.
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ambassador chris stevens considers himself fortunate to participate in this incredible period of change and hope for libya. as the president's representative, his job is to develop a strong, mutually beneficial relationship between the united states and libya. ambassador stevens was the american representative to the transitional national council in benghazi, of course during the revolution. that statement, it really is haunting at this point, ambassador. >> it is. i've met with ambassador stevens just before he went out to assume his new duties as am boss dr. i had a nonprofit training, and he was so enthusiastic about wanting to have my organization out there on the ground, working with the libyan people. you know a lot of ambassadors won't offer that kind of diplomacy. but chris understood the importance of it. he served all over the region. and as elise labott indicated,
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people loved this guy. he was very special. and i suspect -- i would think to think that senior libyan officials this morning are ashamed of what happened. >> ambassador kattouf, thank you very much. we're sorry for your loss. the entire diplomatic community feeling the loss of chris stevens. very, very popular around the world. >> people loved ambassador stevens. i want to go to jo manna who is on the phone. tell me what you know happened and what's happening here today on this early morning. >> well, first we have not received any information from the u.s. embassy in tripoli here. they are being very tight-lipped about what happened and not either confirming or denying these reports that it was, indeed, ambassador chris stevens who was killed in this attack.
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but according to libyan officials the consulate was attacked by militants yesterday we had eyewitnesses who described the situation as a front line clashes that took place for hours with rocket-propelled grenades fired at the consulate there. conflicting reports on how the fatality did occur. how ambassador stevens may have been killed. there are reports that it was from the rpg attack, and there are other reports that he suffocated from the fire that was in -- with the embassy. we're expecting to hear more from libyan officials. a press conference here is going to start momentarily held by libya's two top officials. the prime minister, and the speaker of parliament. all libyan officials we have spoken to today, and libyans on the street here in tripoli, will shocked by this attack, condemning this attack, and they
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see ambassador stevens, and the united states, as friends of libya and they're truly ashamed by what happened. >> jomana, just so i'm clear, as we were reporting yesterday, and as you've been reporting this morning, there were the protests at the u.s. consulate there in benghazi. and that is where one worker was killed. and then we learned of the death of ambassador stevens. and as far as a time line, that is still unclear, correct? because according to our reporting, according to your sources, he was targeted with three other workers in a car, and we don't know as far as the time line of that death and the protests, correct? >> that is the case. it is very difficult to get any clarity on what actually happened. the time line, because of the u.s. state department and the u.s. embassy here has revealed very little information. >> jomana it's john berman here. i have a question, because this may be confusing for a lot of americans waking up this morning
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to hear that the u.s. ambassador was killed in libya, after last october, moammar gadhafi was killed in libya. after the u.s. seemed to support the uprising there. what has been the sentiment towards the u.s. over the last several months? is there a rising anti-american sentiment there? we appear to have lost jomana in libya right now. but we are fortunate that we're joined by jamie rubin, of course, former u.s. assistant secretary of state. jamie is with us here in new york this morning. that question i asked to jomana i can ask to you. this would be confusing to a lot of americans when we hear a u.s. diplomat was killed in libya. libya is supposed to be this place where change is happening for the good, presumably. >> yes. and i think that there has not been a big rise in anti-american sentiment in libya in recent months. there are still a lot of internal problems in libya. libya is hardly a stable society. but i think when your reporter said that there's a lot of shame
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inside -- in tripoli amongst the people, amongst the government there, the fact they're pulling out their two highest-ranking political officials to talk about this today, i expect to see the kind of expressions of regret and shame, and all of the signs and sentiments we would hope to come from libya will be in this press conference coming in the coming hours out of libya. and it is tricky to understand the connection between this attack and the broader protests against the united states and cairo, and in the region, and in libya specifically. and i think it's very important until we know whether the death of the u.s. ambassador was a result of the protests, and he was killed escaping the consulate, it may have been a separate plot of some kind where his car was targeted by a group that was an anti-american, al
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qaeda affiliated, extremist islamic group. or it may be this whole thing spun out of control as a result of a firefight beginning at the consulate. so until you are able to answer that question, it's kind of hard to assign the significance of this. >> that's what i was trying to ask about the time line. i think that will be fleshed out over time. top libyan officials speaking, i'm sure we'll bring that in to cnn. as far as who's not really speaking yet and having worked at the state department, if you can, jamie, just lift the veil. what are the machinations within the state department? when will they confirm? >> i expect fairly soon. there are probably a lot of notifications to be made. there's, you know, obviously the ambassador himself, his staff, each of the individuals, families, who are, if they know their son or daughter is in libya right now, obviously frantic. so i expect what's going on is that there's a lot of tracking down of family members, of
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staffers, plus the ambassador. notifications, discussions, plans for what to do with the bodies, which are apparently not yet in u.s. custody. and then once that is done, the internal steps to make sure that family members are notified, not from the media, then i expect they'll be able to give us these factual questions. i would expect a full briefing from the state department fairly soon. >> the white house, of course, hasn't given us official confirmation yet. but they have told us that president obama is being kept abreast of the situation in libya by his national security adviser, tom donnell at this moment. the white house on top of this. >> i'm sure we'll be hearing from the state department, of course, probably from the white house as well. fluid situation. jamie rubin, stay with us. we need to get a quick commercial break in. we're going to stay on this breaking news coverage all morning long. u.n. ambassador to libya and three other embassy staffers killed in a rocket attack
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overnight in benghazi. we are going to talk to former house speaker newt gingrich next. at usaa, we believe honor is not exclusive to the military, and commitment is not limited to one's military oath.
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welcome back. big news this morning here. following the breaking news out of the middle east, u.s. ambassador to libya christopher stevens has been killed along with three other embassy staff members. >> they were targeted by a rocket as they were leaving for a safer venue during that violence that erupted in benghazi yesterday. now want to bring in former speaker of the house newt gingrich. mr. gingrich is in our washington bureau right now. mr. speaker, this is a tragedy for the entire u.s., for the diplomatic community. what do you make of what's happening on the ground right now in libya? >> well, first of all, i think all of our prayers should go out to all four families who gave their lives on behalf of the united states. these are truly soldiers of
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freedom as much as anybody in afghanistan and iraq. we should all recognize that. i also think we should back up a half step and realize, this is not just about libya. you don't get simultaneously attacks in benghazi and cairo, and libya and egypt on a purely local basis. and you don't get them on 9/11. a day when we're already honoring terrorist attacks in the united states, without a fair amount of collusion and a fair amount of planning. so i think you have to look at this in a larger context. it doesn't matter if the average libyan likes us or dislikes us. there's a substantial faction, particularly in benghazi, which was sending people to iraq to kill americans. there's a substantial faction in egypt which wants to defeat the united states and destroy israel. that faction looks for opportunities to do things to hurt the united states, and yesterday was an example of an attack that's part of a very long war. we're going to be at, i think, for a very, very long time. and we need to have an honest
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national conversation about how serious this war is. >> mr. speaker, you connected the dots between the demonstrations in cairo and the demonstrations in libya and the assassination of the u.s. ambassador there. do you have any proof that there is a connection right now? let's just ask you that. >> okay. so you have -- you're suggesting we have spontaneously -- >> no, i just want to know if there's something -- >> look, i don't have access to the nsa listening devices. i don't know what our various people think. but i have looked at this long enough going back to 1979 and looking, frankly, before that at the palestinian terror operations in the '70s, that they have been able to -- anybody who's ever studied terrorism will tell you, there's almost certainly a link. this is almost like the danish cartoon outrage a few years ago which happened to simultaneously appear in country after country. it wasn't simultaneous. we are faced with enemies who want to defeat the united states, and impose their radical views. we're a country that believes in
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religious liberty. we believe in freedom of speech. how can the u.s. government apologize for a film no one has seen. which is what the embassy in cairo did yesterday. this is part of a much longer struggle, and i think you have to connect these larger dots. it's not just about an event in libya, it's about a longer war, part of which we were being reminded of yesterday on 9/11. >> mr. speaker, this is brooke baldwin. if i may interject here. we have now gotten confirmation from the white house on the death of ambassador stevens. i just want to read the first graph of a multigraph e-mail statement from the white house. strongly condemn the out rajous attack on our diplomatic facility in benghazi which took the lives of four americans, including ambassador chris stevens. it goes on. right now the american people have the families of those we lost in our thoughts and prayers. they exemplified america's commitment to freedom, justice and partnership with nations and people around the globe and stand in stark contwrast to those who callusly took their
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lives. here's my question to you this morning as politics has already been injected in this as of yesterday, because of some of the messaging that went out. i want to begin with mitt romney's statement on what happened. let me just quote him, quote his campaign. i am outraged by the attacks on american diplomatic missions in libya and egypt, and by the death of an american consulate worker in benghazi. it is disgraceful that the obama administration's first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks. now, to be clear, the embassy statement from cairo actually came out before the protests. they came out after they knew about the film, before the protest. to be clear about that. let me just finish. the obama campaign response was this. we are shocked at a time when the united states of america is confronting the tragic death of one of our diplomatic officers in libya, governor romney would
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choose to launch a political attack. speaker gingrich, is this really time for politics here? >> well, first of all, if you do time lines. governor romney issued that statement before we knew the american ambassador was killed. >> that's correct. absolutely. absolutely. >> so you can be shocked that the obama campaign was twisting the facts. >> how was the obama campaign twisting the facts? >> they were suggesting he was issuing a statement at a time when the ambassador had been killed when it was clear governor romney didn't know he had been killed when heish issued the statement. >> we knew of a death. >> we had an opportunity yesterday to teach the muslim world about freedom. to say you know, it's true, some people in the united states might make a film that's totally whacked out. i'm a christian. i've spent all my lifetime being lectured. but that there's artistic freedom. people can do things to the image of christ and we are not supposed to be offended because after all we have artistic freedom. sooner or later we in the modern
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world have to say to those who are living in a different way, look, we stand for freedom. and that means that we shouldn't give in. read exactly what the statement said yesterday from the american embassy and it was precisely the wrong message to give to the muslim world. it was we are standing for freedom. >> i have that speaker gingrich. let me read it if our viewers aren't familiar. u.s. embassy in cairo statement. the embassy of the u.s. and cairo could be condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of muslims as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions, respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of american democracy. we firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious belief of others and the administration confirmed with politico that that statement had not gone through washington therefore the secretary of state hillary clinton ultimately issued a statement. but back to governor romney.
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should he be walking back any of his statements today? >> no. >> why not? >> governor romney's statement is pretty clear. if governor romney were president he would be enraged at the egyptians for tolerating the attack on the embassy. he would be offended at the libyans for allowing -- both countries have an obligation to protect our embassies. this is exactly like 1979 in iran when we ended up in a hostage crisis. egypt has an obligation to protect our embassy. libya has an obligation to protect our embassy. and frankly maybe it's because i'm a conservative. maybe it's because i come out of a different background, but when the american flag is torn down and destroyed, when an american ambassador and three other americans are killed, my reaction is not to find some way to be pleasant and understanding and caring about the people who are killing americans, tearing down our flag, and assaulting our country. my reaction, frankly, is pretty militant and say we ought to stand up -- >> john berman here again. that statement happened before any of the violence. it happened before the demonstrations, it happened before the killings, it happened before the american flag was torn down.
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let's just be clear about that right now. >> by what right does an american official in a foreign country get involved in freedom of speech issues in the united states against freedom of speech? i mean read the opening part of the statement, which suggests that in effect we should somehow be apologizing -- this is a film nobody has seen, done by somebody nobody understands. that's what america was all about, people were supposed to be free. we should be defending and explaining freedom, not kowtowing to whatever willful religious fanatic group decides they're offended by something. i don't think there's any circumstance where an american official should be censoring and condemning american free speech on behalf of people who happen to be irritated by it. >> hang on one second, elise labott at the state department can give us some context of that initial statement from cairo. >> john, it's true what politico said, and we had known this yesterday, that statement was not cleared from washington. and there was a lot of talk
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yesterday talk that the embassy sent out that statement and flies in the face of what u.s. values are. we have been talking about the fact that while the u.s. makes clear that it does not take sides with any race or religion and it really tries to promote religious intolerance, which is religious tolerance, excuse me, which has been a very big priority of secretary clinton and the state department, they did not believe that that statement espoused u.s. values because it did fly in the face of what the americans think about free speech. secretary clinton has said that an election does not a democracy make and part of a democracy is freedom of speech. freedom of expression. freedom of assembly. and they felt that this statement didn't necessarily reflect those values. now i think to make any connection to what happened at the embassy in cairo, at the embassy in libya, might be a little stretching because these things happen really in
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succession of one another. that statement came out, the u.s. was expecting protests at the embassy. in addition to that statement the embassy also sets out a kind of warning to americans that there could be protests over this film. so certainly that statement kind of apologizing, as some would say, if you would, rumpled feathers. but to say it caused that stampede on either of the embassies i think might be stretching just a bit. >> elise labott in washington. speaker newt gingrich in washington also thank you both very much for bringing us up to date right now. brooke let's remind people what's going on. >> let's go ahead and reset at the bottom of the hour. the breaking news here coming out of the middle east, it is both out of libya and out of egypt specifically. the u.s. ambassador to libya, christopher stevens, and three other embassy staff members are dead. they were killed in this rocket attack, apparently targeting the ambassador's car. >> the group was heading to a safer location after protesters attacked the u.s. consulate in
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benghazi and opened fire. that violence was in protest to that amateur online film produced in the u.s. that offended millions of muslims. we want to bring in cnn contributor fran townsend on the phone in washington, d.c. fran worked in the white house in the bush administration on homeland security. and fran, you were talking yesterday a lot about the connection between what was going on in cairo, and libya. you were saying these protests represented really a tremendous amount of activity, too much to be a coincidence on september 11th. now on top of that, we have the assassination of the u.s. ambassador to libya. >> john, let me just step back for a second. i should tell you that i was with ambassador chris stevens not two weeks ago. i was in tripoli on a business trip. he was not only a friend, but i think to give our viewers some context, chris stevens had a particular sort of affinity for benghazi. he has been in d.c. in 2007 when i was in the white house and visited. he was there with me when i traveled to speak with gadhafi.
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and then he left libya. he went back at the height of the fighting, he was with the rebels in benghazi. before there was sort of an official consulate and establishment there. and that obviously prior to being appointed as ambassador. he knew benghazi. he knew the rebels in benghazi. he felt very comfortable there. this is not your typical sort of starched white shirt ambassador. this was a guy who was a real professional. who rolled his sleeves up, who wanted to help the libyans get the freedom that they have fought for. and so, it's an extraordinary loss not only for the state department, and obviously chris' family, but for the country. my only experience there has been libya was in a very fragile security situation and really needs the attention and support of the international community. and so, look, unfortunately, it will now get the attention it needed before this tragedy.
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it will get it now, because of this. >> right, fran, by all accounts chris stevens was a very special man with a very special affinity to libya. he was a key part in the american roll there over the last year and a half as the rapid changes were happening there in the arab spring. what does his death then today signify to you? >> well, look, i think we have supported the freedom movement. especially in libya. we supported the strikes. we were a part of the effort by nato. but it's not enough. right? it's not enough to help people actually get their freedom. overthrow an oppressive government. you're going to have to come in behind them and help them as a fledgling democracy. the first indication of a working democracy is that it can protect its own people. and libya is struggling. i was there. -- to take in the militia elements. the ministry of interior and border guards trying to get the equipment they need.
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and the attention of the international community, quite frankly, has turned elsewhere. there are hot spots in syria. there are hot spots around the world, where we're engaged our intention with the iran nuclear program and everyone has said libya fell off people's attention. and i must tell you, if we don't want to see these sorts of tragedies we need to have a longer attention span and commit ourselves to helping fledgling democracies get up and running and be able to protect their own people, and our establishments in their country. >> fran, i think you bring up a great point, because we, you know, covered the revolution in libya so thoroughly for so many months. and my lasting image is of the gold revolver, right, and learning that moammar gadhafi had been killed. but since then what has happened in libya? where have we been for the last couple of months? where have they been? >> that's exactly right. and so you could tell in talking to people both in the libyan government, and at the u.s. embassy, that there have been
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real concerns. there's a city called durna, east of benghazi where there's a growing extremist element there. and people talk to me about that while i was there. that this group of durna, this al qaeda, islamist extremist group who is gaining strength in numbers and they were moving west. the next big city is benghazi. chris stevens offered to take me with him to benghazi and i couldn't because i wasn't going to be on the ground long enough. i give him tremendous credit. he was willing to go there to talk to folks and to try to help them. but one individual alone, and even with the embassy staff -- i don't want to misstate it. it's a terrific staff. it's a very strong staff who were very inspired by chris stevens' commitment to libya. but it needs more. it needs a whole government approach. it's what we talked about in ir iraq. you can't simply go in and break stuff and overthrow a government, pack up your stuff and go home and leave the
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diplomats there. you actually need to do more in terms of commitment of the international community to help build institutions. moammar gadhafi didn't permit institutions, civil institutions. he ruled, he was an autocratic dictator. and we knew that. so when he was overthrown, the new government was going to need support, long-term support. they have their own money from oil. they needed help building civil institutions. >> sounds like ambassador stevens wanted to play an integral role in helping that support, the next chapter, if you will, of libya, and his life tragically cut short. fran townsend, thank you so much for calling in. if you get any more information call us back. listening to her speak i can't help but think of the images, our coverage of benghazi, really the birthplace of the revolution, the rebel movement, and here it is the same city in which the ambassador, who wanted to help libyans -- >> who played such a key role in
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welcome back to "starting point" everyone. we are following breaking news this morning. the u.s. ambassador to libya killed in an attack in benghazi. the president just released a statement a few minutes ago. quote, i strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in benghazi which took the lives of four americans including ambassador chris stevens. i directed my administration to provide all necessary resources to support the security of our personnel in libya and to increase security at our diplomatic posts around the
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globe. while the united states rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants. >> and just to be clear, as you're waking up here, two separate incidents, still murky the time line. basically you have these protests in cairo, egypt, and also in benghazi, libya, presumably over this film that is purported to be blasphemous of the prophet mohamd. so they breached the walls of the embassy in cairo, protests there, breached the walls of the consulate in benghazi. as a result of that one state department worker was killed. after all of that, then we have learned that this ambassador to libya, ambassador stevens, was apparently targeted along with three workers as he was exsignature that consulate in benghazi and that is when we learned he had been killed in addition to three other workers. so just to be clear, two separate incidents. potentially, you know, all related. we just don't know. >> that's what we're finding out
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today. want to bring in congressman randy forest from virginia. the death of u.s. ambassador chris stevens is a tragedy for his family. it is a tragedy in the diplomatic community. but it is a major moment in u.s. foreign policy right now. what do you think this signifies this morning? >> john, there's no question that this is a tragic situation. our hearts go out to the families involved here. you know on 9/11 when that tragedy hit the united states, i was the newest elected member of congress and i remember we got through that for two reasons. the first thing is that we tried to calm the nation down. which i think is always important for us to do. so we're making decisions that are reasonable and rational and not emotional. but the second thing is, then, to analyze our policies and see which ones do we need to continue? and which ones do we need to change? i think we need to do the same thing in this situation. we need to take the time to pause, get all the facts, and examine our policies and look at them and see if there's anything different we need to be doing. >> what do we need to change then? finish that statement for me? >> i can't answer that until
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we've looked at all the facts. i think sometimes we'd like to have knee-jerk reactions. but one of the things it seems like is that our foreign policy efforts in the middle east are having some bumpy roads right now, if not collapsing altogether. and i think at some particular point, after we have taken some time to analyze this situation, we need to examine that, look at that, and see which road we want to travel and move forward. >> on the subject, sir, of knee-jerk reaction, i suppose actually it's not my place to call it a knee-jerk reaction. the romney released a statement before the assassination of ambassador stevens but it was talking about the violence that had been going on in libya, hitting cairo. the romney campaign released a statement, said i am outraked by the attacks on american diplomatic missions in libya and egypt and by the death of an american consulate worker in benghazi. that is a separate death. he goes on to say it's disgraceful that the obama administration's first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks. what's interesting about this statement, congressman forbes,
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is this statement came out before there was any violence. mitt romney is calling out the obama team for not condemning the violence before the violence ever happened. you're a supporter of mitt romney. do you support that statement? >> well, john, i think one of the things that you're not suggesting is that mitt romney could somehow see into the future and predict this. i think what mitt romney was doing is recognizing that, you know, this is an administration whose foreign policy certainly is collapsing in many parts around the world. whether it's in europe, where we pulled out our missile defense systems, only to get the russians to spend more money on military instead of less. when you look at what's happening in egypt and libya at this particular point in time. i think what amazes me, though, is the situation at some particular point in time, there's got to be some accountability on this administration, and to simply attack the romney campaign for a single statement but not examine the foreign policy flaws of this administration had doesn't seem correct for me to do. i just think though at some particular point in time, after
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today, after tomorrow, after we've assessed these facts, we need to examine our foreign policy and ask if we're making the right decisions in the middle east. and i think in many situations we're not. >> all right, congressman randy forbes thank you so much for joining us this morning. very sad morning for the entire community here. >> i want to bring jamie rubin back in. former assistant secretary of state. jamie rubin, this is something that we talked so much about last year in covering the revolutions. the question, interestingly when you talk about these dictators of both libya, be it moammar gadhafi or in egypt hosni mubarak. they did keep in check these radical islamic groups, and now that they are gone, here they are. >> well, that's exactly right. and that is what they used to tell us. that was the argument that was given, and is still given to some degree, by some of the monarchies in the persian gulf, the saudis, the bahrain, the united arab emirates. they say, look, if you didn't have us, you would have either chaos, you would have islamic
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extremism. the muslim brotherhood was the big enemy of hosni mubarak and egypt, who he saw, their rise as yielding chaos and violence. now, of course, what we're seeing is some of the things they worried about are true but some are not true. the muslim brotherhood president has come in egypt. mursi, and he has been relatively calm, relatively measured. he condemned the iranian president recently. >> but he hasn't said anything in the last 24 hours. >> but we're waiting to see what he's going to do about egypt now. and i think that will be a big test of how he sees his country's responsibilities to protect foreign embassies. but the place where the mubarak and gadhafi and other dictators' arguments were correct, is that they had a terribly effective secret police. they could often find muslim extremist groups who were
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prepared to kill westerners, before they acted. they put them in prison. they often tortured them. and there was a degree of control of these areas that allowed for some, quote, security that had its benefits. and we're losing some of that. libya, in particular, is tragic because, i think as we've all said all morning, that after they won their freedom, not enough has been done to help them develop the institutions, and the means. they have the money. they have their oil money. but they need the institutions and the support to develop real security. >> and in -- >> they don't have it. >> not to interject another country here but syria, if there is a post-bashar al assad syria, then who's in charge? >> well, exactly. and syria is, i would say, even more difficult because the ethnic tensions between sunni and others are very, very strong in syria.
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and i think what we're seeing is that the failure to stop this war early, and with each month that passes, that risk of real, civil war in syria where you have neighborhood by neighborhood, block by block, going on for many, many years, may happen. right now there is a civil war. but you could reach the next level, and that's what we call beirut. where in lebanon you had a real civil war for a decade. and i think we're all hoping that doesn't happen in syria. >> we have so much more for you. jamie rubin if you will, just stay seated here in the studio. we have to get a quick break in. continuing our breaking news coverage here on "starting point." ♪ [ female announcer ] pop in a whole new kind of clean. with new tide pods. just one removes more stains than the 6 next leading pacs combined pop in. stand out.
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we do have breaking news this morning. the u.s. ambassador to libya killed in a rocket attack in ben gha ghazi. the other powder keg, cairo. >> several m managed to scale the walls of the u.s. embassy there, rip down the american flag. and live for us in cairo, we have ian. can you tell me what you've been seeing, tell me what you know. >> brooke, the numbers are smaller this morning. in cairo, there are dozens of protesters out there, a far cry from the thousands we saw last night. and, you know, as you've said, a handful were able to scale the embassy wall and tear down the american flag.
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security forces really nowhere to be seen when that occurred. the government has come out with a few statements. really uncharacteristic of the egyptian government coming to us with a message. foreign ministry came quickly, saying they condemn the attacks on the embassy and that they're going to work with the ministry to ensure that they're secured. so what ministries are responsible? the ministry of interior and we talked to one of the spokesman from the ministry of the interior and said they have made a few arrests and they acted according to protocol. they were late. they weren't there when the embassy was being breached. we talked to the military, who is also on hand and said they have four apcs, armored personnel carriers and troops around the embassy to prevent a libyan style attack, something where gunmen attack the embassy. they're there to prevent gunmen
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forcing to enter the embassy but not riots. that's the job of the police. we asked the military why didn't the police respond quickly enough? they said that the police were unprepared. the cabinet has met about the incident and say it's on the top of their agenda. we're expect iing a statement fm them as well. >> okay. we mentioned multiple statements from the foreign ministry, but so many people waiting for something from mohammed morrissey, morrimorsi. >> we now know the name of another of the four people killed along with ambassador chris stevens. shawn smith was killed as well. he joined the department ten years ago. >> more information. this is a state department statement. we'll get it for you after this quick break. we're covering the story the only way cnn can, from all across the world. capella university understands businesses are trying to come
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good morning. we welcome to "early start," everyone. i'm john berman. >> and i'm brooke baldwin. soledad o'brien is off here on "starting point." breaking news. in ben gauzi, taken the life
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of jay christopher stevens. the group was in their car, heading to a safer location after protesters had raided the u.s. consulate there. >> the anger against the u.s. stemming from this amateur online film produced in america that has offended millions of muslims. we're covering the story from all angles across the globe for you in the way that cnn can with jamie ruben, sitting in the studio, former secretary of state. roland martin, leslie j. seymour and will cain. in addition to everyone sitting at the table we have, from washington, d.c., cory clark, a former secretary of defense of public affairs. tori, we now have the statement from hillary clinton in which not only does sthee, of course,
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profess profound sadness but she also mentions shawn smith. can you tell us who shawn smith is? >> i don't know shawn smith personally but there are scores and scores of people, jamie ruben knows this, who work at our embassies and work overses.s so many things you want to talk about this morning but my heart is breaking for the families of these people, for the ambassador, for shawn smith and othe others. i give them my thoughts and prayers. >> absolutely. and i can fill in the blanks here as i'm looking at this statement from your boss, from secretary clinton. she says shawn smith, a foreign service management information officer -- this statement goes on to say they're still making next of kin notifications for the other two individuals. our hearts go out to all their individuals and colleagues,
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shawn smith, husband and father of two. >> you worked through so many difficult periods during the bush administration. how does a white house, how does an administration have to react like a tragedy like this? what are the delicate matters they have to deal with now? >> delicate is a really good wo word, john. as much as you want to give people information. you want to tell them here is what happened, here is what's going on. you have to be very careful. first reports are always wrong. as this day goes on, we'll learn more about what's happened in these two different places. first thing you do is try to get as much information as possible. try to make very sure that the rest of our people who are working around the world are safe. we have procedures in place. are we aware of any other attacks under way? i look to peter brooks this morning and have to echo what i heard him say. it seems sust such a coincidence that these two protests going on in two different places happened at the same time. it happened on 9/11. to me it sounds like there was more planning than just a random mob. you have to look at why does
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this happen. it's very important for our government, for our senior officials to make -- be making strong statements condemning the violence, encouraging, urging the libyan and egyptian government to get to the bottom of this and make sure that the people who did this are brought braut to justice. >> speaking of condemning the violence, in libya, i want to play a little sound. we'll hear from the head of the ruling party, condemning what's happen happened. take a listen. >> we also condemn and strongly criticize the use of force and terrorizing civilians killing innocence as a means of expression. >> so public condemnation from libya as far as what's happened. we were talking to our reporter in cairo. some statements from the foreign ministry, yet nothing from mohammed morsi.
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truly say story of a test for him and his new leadership over a good friend of ours, being egypt. >> i agree with you completely. not that they're asking for my advice but i believe that he should be at that podium. and not that president obama is asking for my advice but secretary clinton has put out appropriate statements. i think it's time for president obama to be at a podium saying we condemn this violence over a stupid movie. whatever the significance of that is, is minimal. nobody be should do what these people did in libya and egypt and the president should be saying that very forcefully as well. >> give me a sense of how you think things are going in libya, in cairo, in syria. where is the u.s. right now in terms of its foreign policy? >> that's a great question, john. even if this hadn't happened, if we were having a conversation about the election year, one of the things i would say is really missing is a serious conversation about where are we in these incredibly dangerous parts of the world? what is the u.s. policy there? what are we trying to
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accomplish? how are we on that road of progress? how are we doing? are we on the right track? i honestly don't know what it is we're trying to accomplish. i hear we're trying to help them set up democrat ic institutions. great. how are we do that? i think we need a very strong and clear discussion of what it is we're trying to accomplish there and maybe we could better assess of how we're doing. it looks very uncertain, very dangerous, a vacuum of leadership. vacuums of leadership from both sides can be very provocative. >> let me jump in, torie. this libyan news conference is going on, they've also gone on to apologize to the united states, to the americans, to our government and to the rest of the the world. let me just turn this to jamie ruben. i'm curious, jamie. these are words. while we appreciate these forceful words, condemning the attacks, is that enough?
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>> no, it isn't enough. look, ambassador stevens was obviously a friend of the libyan government. they saw him as a friend. he had worked in ben gauzi during the rebellion. they are feeling particularly bad, the libyans, that the closest ally in the.s. government system was killed by libyans so they've said the right things. but now they need to do the right things. by that i mean try to assess the facts here in a serious way by determining to what extent these events are connected, to what extent this was a planned assassination or the result of violence at the consulate. to what extent this is all connected to a larger islamist extremist to exploit the date, 9/11. those are facts which none of us know right now. if the libyan government starts to do the hard work of taking this event as seriously as they should, we will know that. and frankly, i think they will.
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they really know this is their closest friend, in the u.s. government, and they've needed help from the united states since they won their freedom. >> roland, i want to bring you in here, roland martin as torie clarke was talking about vacuumed leadership. >> it's interesting. we've heard senator john mccain and others say we need to be more aggressive when it comes to syria. but this is exactly part of the problem, when we can be very active on the front end. i remember the late congressman charlie wilson talked about afghanistan. once we moved folks out the first time, he said now what are we going to do? naturally we ways -- somebody else's problem. what more do you want us to do? then we get upset when we see this happens. it's a collective issue here. i take issue with her saying that. >> i want to thank torie clark.
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we want to bring you breaking news from the pentagon. marine reinforcements are heading to benghazi right now. let's head to barbara starr at the pentagon. >> reporter: two u.s. officials are confirming that marines are on the way to benghazi. this will be an anti-terrorism security team, a fast team, they are called. they are going there to reinforce the diplomatic installation there. you saw secretary of state clinton has asked for additional security. the president ha said there will be additional security at u.s. installations around the world. and after what happens happened at benghazi, marines now on the way. these are the very specific marine corps embassy teams that are structured just for this job. to reinforce an embassy or diplomatic installation when violence breaks out.
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aas you know, marines guard embassies around the world. this is more people, more fire power, more security capability. but, john, in libya, cairo, at installations around the world, one of the key issues is that u.s. jurisdiction, of course, only extends to the fence line. when the violence breaks out on the street, it is the responsibility of course of the host government to maintain security on behalf of the u.s. embassy. these marines will be inside the installation. they will guard it, provide security for the u.s. personnel who work there. we will begin to see them arriving on the ground. and i think there's every indication we will see more military security movements given the president and secretary clinton's orders for more security at diplomatic installations, john. >> in cairo and in benghazi, it did seem as if the protesters did get over the wall of the consulate in benghazi and cairo.
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>> absolutely. that's why you are seeing this movement of more muscle power. it's a very specific thing. on the street, it is the host country's responsibility. once they climb the fence line, if you will, once they climb the embassy fence, then it is security inside the embassy, but it is still the responsibility of the host government to make sure it doesn't get to that point. i think you will see the u.s. administration is very concerned that these governments maintain their responsibility for security on the street and it does not get to that point. you know, this is why, however, it is. so, this is why you're seeing this reinforcement of marines moving in, taking a very assertive posture. they are not looking to shoot anybody. they are not looking to get into a shooting war but they are under orders, it is very clear,
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to maintain security at diplomatic installations and will have rules of engagement, if you will, to be able to do that. it's only going to work, according to u.s. officials, if the host governments step up their responsibility as well. let me add one more thing, john. we are told that you should expect -- we should expect to see perhaps some u.s. military aircraft moving in to libya to begin to take care of any medical evacuation or removal of remains of u.s. diplomatic personnel, perhaps including the ambassador, john. >> barbara starr at the pentagon. lot of news right there, u.s. military aircraft perhaps patroling libya, u.s. marines headed to help with the embassy. barbara starr shall thank you very much. >> we're going to talk, live on the phone from libya. perhaps the news conference is still going on as the head of the libyan government is
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basically apologizing to the american people. >> reporter: indeed, the libyan prime minister and the speaker of the libyan parliament, national congress extending their con dolanss. and to the family of those killed. according to the speak er of th parliament, it was ambassador stevens who was killed along with three other people in the consulate. now it is not clear what happened. officials said that the investigation is under way and they refused to go into details of this attack and how it happened. they are blaming the attacks -- at one point it was blamed on gadhafi loyalists. the speaker of the parliament saying that there was a clear
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indication here that this coincided with september 11th and saying they completely reject the use of libya and its lands for any sort of revenge attacks. they have promised to secure aall foreign nationals here, foreign missions. but they said they were already doing everything they can to secure it. and in this instance, as we've seen, they have failed to do so, be underscoring the fragility of the security situation here. a country that is awash with hundreds of military operatives here, including those in the eastern pores of the country, as we've heard from western intelligence agencies in recent months as groups affiliated with al qaeda who have been operating in that area. we have seese seen these groups in the past claiming responsibility for attacks against western targets, including the u.s. consulate
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back in june when a bomb exploded outside this very buildin building. >> jomana karad shchlt eh on the phone with us from the capital of libya. thank you for joining us. will cain, jump in. >> you and torie clarke mentioned a couple of things. we know this took place on 9/11. offensive movie supposedly is the catalyst for these protests that came out months ago on youtu youtube, i believe. torie clarke said we see this as a coincidence. you said we should look into the organization of this. it's not a grassroots, but planned and coordinated behind the scenes? >> it looks a little bit that way. the last time this terrible pastor in florida, seems to enjoy burning korans and stirring up trouble, it was afghanistan and pakistan that
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had had the connection. and so clearly there were people in those two countries who reacted to just the idea of the burning of the koran. what i'm guessing happened is that behind the scenes islamist extremists probably heard about this event and are looking to create a name for themselves, looking to create an event. they find what they can, distribute information that now this film has been broadcast on parts of egyptian television and stir it up by did he ssseminati fact of this film. we don't know that that's violent yet. that's public protest, stage one. this is particularly unusual, and why this investigation is so crucial, attack on an ambassador with an rpg looks like an assassination. the connection between those two things i just described is the essence of whether these are
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larger forces at work, whether these are just the fact that libya and egypt are no longer under control of security apparatuses the way they were under mubarak and gadhafi or whether there is some larger goal and some group and conspiracy, essentially. >> i have a question for you, too. is this a clash between people who are very comfortable with open news systems being completely connected and people who don't know how to do that? we can't put a stop on that. the whole world is connected. these things get out there. how do you prevent that? >> you can see it's already causing some political pron problems at home. finding a balance between defending free speech and condemning particularly hateful speech. there are limits to free speech, the classic being you can't yell "fire" in a movie theater.
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figure i figuring out how hateful speech is treated in our government so that people around the world don't see, in an unsophisticated way, something coming out in america and thinking the u.s. government could have stopped that when we can't stop that. so, therefore, the only antidote is to make clear that we condemn hateful speech while recognizing the right of free speech. we can defend somebody's right to speak and still hate what he says and that subtly is tricky in the modern world. >> i have to ask you about retaliation. america is sitting out there. how do we respond? and so i want you to speak to that, but also as a former state department official, how do you deal with the balance of trying to support a very fragile government and folks who we said we have your back when it comes to democracy as well? that's very fragile. >> right. i don't think -- unless we find the individuals responsible for assassinating the ambassador -- if we do find them, they should either be brought to justice in
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a criminal sensor, you know, there should be military action of some kind, perhaps special forces tracking them down. they've killed a representative, individual of our country. this hasn't happened, i think we were talking earlier, since the late '70s where aa u.s. ambassador has been killed in the line of duty. >> this is a very hostile act. >> this is a very hostile act. some response of a physical nature is absolutely required. you were talking earlier, and i think we all know -- and you were talking. libya was a big deal in this country. we all spent a lot of time talking about it. it was nonstop coverage. we were all very proud of the end of the gadhafi regime, hateful dictator who had killed americans in the lockerbie bombing, who was about to slaughter his own people and united states, along with britain and france, helped the libyan rebels overthrow him. we didn't do it for them but we helped them. as it is in this country, we
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turned the channel. we switched the lens. we stopped paying attention. when we engage ourselves militarily and there are fundamental changes in regimes around the world, i believe we have aa responsibility to see it through. and that costs money and it costs tomorrow thyme. >> ambassador stevens was there in trip lochlt i trying to do? >> absolutely i assure you he was having a tough time to get them to have the attention and time -- libya is a rich company but needed help. they had no government system other than the dictatorship of ga gadhafi. suddenly, they were free. that's why they can run around with people targeting the american ambassador even though the government apologizes. >> i want to bring in incredible sources from the state department. we continue to talk about
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ambassador stevens. there were three other workers with him, in this car. >> right. >> right, who were killed. we have the statement. i know you have the statement from secretary of state hillary clinton. tell me more about -- we have another name. shawn smith. who was shawn smith? >> shawn smith was a foreign service officer at the state department. i didn't know him as well as i know chris stevens, but, brooke, secretary clinton often says diplomats are on the front lines of u.s. foreign diplomacy. in this case, really, these type of people, these people that go to libya, that go to iraq, afghanistan, these are people that, you know, a lot of people now in today's foreign service don't necessarily want to be pinstripe diplomats, as jamie well knows. they want to go out in the field and be working with the people, trying to -- even if it means putting themselves in harm's way, it means getting their hands dirty and working on doing the hard slog of trying to build
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these institutions, trying to work with people on the ground. and these diplomats were not just people that sat in their ivory tower or embassy or consulate. they were out on the field working with tribes, various groups, working with all the people in the libyan government and in the u.s. government to try and get this country back on its feet and start anew. >> do we know -- and forgive me for bit of a morbid question this early hour. from what we know, ambassador stevens and these three other workers are still in libya, correct? how does the u.s. remove them so we can bring them home and honor them amidst the violence there? >> we understand from one of our contractors on the ground that the bodies are being brought to the airport in benghazi. ultimately, they'll be flown home for proper burial by their families and certainly there will be ceremonies and memorials to mark their state department work. there's a wall on the headquarters of the state department here in washington.
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there's a wall of all the foreign service officers killed in action. and, unfortunately, in the last several years, particularly since 9/11, that has grown considerably, that wall. those names will be on there. there will be some kind of ceremony. getting the bodies home. getting the remains to their families and personal affects to their families and really helping the families during this time will be a priority. as we've been talking about also, trying to secure other u.s. personnel. not just in libya, but in the region. >> right, as we learned from barbara starr, more reinforcements moving in. we're covering the death of ambassador chris stevens in libya, along with four other staffers on mission there. great shot.
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welcome back to "starting point," everyone. we are following breaking news this morning. the latest in the death of the u.s. ambassador to libya. christopher stevens and the others. they were killed in an attack in benghazi, libya. we have learned the name of one staff, shawn smith. mohammed al megaryemegaryef
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>> we apologize to the u.s. and cooperate with us in order to confirm to what is meant by this kind of criminal act. >> that news conference is happening in libya, moments ago. now president obama releasing a statement on the attack in benghazi and he has ordered higher security to protect other u.s. diplomats all around the world. brianna keilar is live with us, with a little more on the president's reaction. good morning. >> reporter: good morning to you, brooke. we found out from a senior official that president obama was alerted last night. the time sort of unclear. as you know, at first we understood it was one diplomat ic officer. over time we realized, of course, it involved the u.s. ambassador. it was unclear when president obama learned that. it was updated overnight by one of his advisers.
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he put out a statement saying i stro strongly condemn the acts that took fourmerican lives, including ambassador chris stevens. i have directed my administration to provide all necessary resources to support the security of our personnel in libya and increase security at our diplomat ic posts around th world. he also said while the united states rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants. we'll continue to get updates from his advisers. brooke? >> tell us what the president is doing today. >> he is out traveling today. we're thinking it has become part of a political issue. as you know, last night when the details were that it was one diplomatic officer involve d, te romney campaign put out a statement saying i'm outraged by
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the attacks on american diplomatic missions in libya and egypt and by the death of an american consulate worker in benghazi. it's disgraceful that the obama's first response is not to condemn attacks on diplomatic missions but to sympathize with those who wage attacks. the obama campaign firing back right away, saying that he's shocked, essentially, that mitt romney is playing politics. this sort of plays in. obviously, we've heard criticism from mitt romney of the president's foreign policy. we heard that at the convention in tampa where you were, certainly from secretary of state condoleezza rice and looking to see if that plays out on the campaign trail today and in the coming days. >> brianna, thank you very much. if we continue the ping ponging back between the candidates, this has become political. tweeted eight hours ago, with the mitt romney camp, obama
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sympathizes with the attack beers. sad and pathetic. the revertebrae rations will be felt today. we want to reset for you, as we hit the button of the hour, what happens happened the past 24 hours. this is ambassador chris stevens. he has been killed, presumably targeted in his car, along with three other u.s. workers, as they were leaving this embassy. rather the consulate in benghazi. just last year this was the nucleus of the rebel movement in libya. and here he is, this is a place where he is targeted and killed. this also happening after there were protests at the u.s. embassy in cairo and at the u.s. consulate in benghazi where both walls were breached and one worker in benghazi in addition to these were killed.
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>> as an awfully big coincidence that this all did happen on the same day. a lot of people wondering this morning, were they somehow connected? at this point we just don't know. we are looking into find out more facts. >> motivation. >> the motivation behind the people that did it. barbara starr at the pentagon, reporting that more marines are heading to benghazi now to help with security in benghazi and, i'm sure, across the region. >> we'll take a quick break. are we taking a quick break? sure, we'll take a quick break. we'll continue this conversation right after this. [ female announcer ] quaker yogurt granola bars. they're whole grain good... and yummy good. real fruit pieces. 12 grams of whole grains and a creamy yogurt flavored coating. quaker yogurt granola bars.
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we have jamie ruben sitting with us. jump in. >> i have a question for you. how do you keep americans focused on something like this when it doesn't turn out the way they thought it was? we went in. we're helpers. everything is going to be better. it's not better. how do you keep us from changing the channel, as everybody says? we get bored when it doesn't work the way we want it to. >> it's the government's responsibility, in large part, and responsible members of congress of both parties, those who have a claim, cabinet interest in national affairs, that's their job, to keep
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forcing those who should be paying attention to pay attention. that means having high-level officials go visit. that means allocating enough funds for security, for foreign assistance programs. that means asking the treasury department. all the departments of the u.s. government to see what we can do. that means getting the united nations to make sure that its officials -- the british government, french government. this is the essence of foreign policy, to prevent the sort of inertia that will naturally occur and redirect resources and focus and energy. and it's hard. and i would be -- wouldn't be candid if i didn't say it was hard. in kosovo, tiny place, couple million people. the secretary of state, national security adviser and secretary of defense on this tiny place
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ha to really have a -- at the time two or three times a week speak to go through all the issues to keep our attention focused on it, to keep their at the present time's attention focused on it. that was a small place where americans were welcomed. so, you know, whether it was afghanistan after that or iraq or now libya, these problems are bigger and bigger and more and more complicated. but that's the job of the administration and the responsible members of the congress. i would like to think thalt news media would keep some interest involved. but they tend, like everyone, to turn the channel to what's the latest development. >> a lot of people this morning are talk talking about how an apparent film or video, amateurist video made in the united states can reverberate around the world to benghazi and around the world and back here. >> we're a country that believes
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in religious liberty, freedom of speech. how can the u.s. government apologize for a film no one has seen, which is what the embassy in cairo did yesterday. this is part of a much longer struggle. you have to connect these larger dots. it's not just about an event in libya but a longer war, part of which we were being reminded of yesterday on 9/11. >> comment? >> brooke talked earlier about the politics, ping pong of politics. i want to set that aside. this is an important conversation to have outside the realm of a political race. you brought this up earlier, jamie, the fact that this has shed light on trouble at home with how we handle the free speech issues. you worked for the state department under bill clinton. were these the right responses? we talked about this, john. this came out before the protests rally on the ground at the embassy in egypt. but was this statement the appropriate statement to hear from our government? >> i've read parts of i that you kindly shared with me. i don't know that i read it all.
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i still think we can have the conversation. look, my guess is what happened is that information started being passed around that an islamic extremist group inside egypt was circulating this video, stirring the pot, was showing it to tv stations, was asking the u.s. embassy for comment. what's your view of this video? how come you, be the u.s. p government, didn't stop them from making this, the way they imagined we could. because they're not sophisticated. and so an embassy official said we've got to figure out a way to disassociate the united states from this video. this wasn't the first time. we had, as we mentioned earlier, the terry jones, as the koran was used to start trouble. there's two sets of warriors. terry jones is a warrior. he is trying to create a civilizational war.
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just as much as the preacher in libya or the preacher in egypt who is shouting at his mob on the street. he's a warrior. terry jones is a warrior, too. when you take -- burn a koran or make a movie that is designed and intended to offend, how do we deal with these warriors? i don't suspect they got the nuances right. they could have made it clearer. we do support free speech, but we weren't involved in this. >> in part we respect religious beliefs as the cornerstone of american democracy but -- >> trying to find a way to disassociate the american government on this film. >> being soft or placating potential responsibility?
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>> it has been seen that way. it's become a football. i'm not sure -- i think it's correct to try to disassociate the united states from these kind of films, from the book burning. the president of the united states had to get on, i believe, make a public statement when u.s. soldier accidentally burned korans. you have to find the right level and the right way to do it. >> gentlemen, let me interject. quick time-out. i want to go to elise lavish. she knew ambassador stevens for ten years. what are you learning? >> just about the fact that the state department after hours and hours of reporting on chris stevens and other u.s. diplomatic officers, the state department and president and secretary clinton now confirming that they're dead. another name that secretary clinton put out is sam smith, an officer at the state department. we don't know a lot of information is coming out about
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them right now. right now, brooke, the all hands on deck to try to make sure that u.s. diplomatic facilities are secure in the wake of what's happened overnight in libya and also what happened yesterday in cairo and everything we've been talking about. one of the main tenets of the u.s. working in these countries is that these countries have a responsibility as host government to make sure those diplomatic facilities are secure. what the state department is doing is dealing with the immediate matters a hand. there will be plenty of times over the coming hours, days and weeks to talk about how the u.s. policy will be affected. i think it will be dramatically affected many ways on how the u.s. approaches the region. right now it's making sure that the families of these men and women are notified, that the
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remains are on the way back, making sure that all u.s. diplomats and personnel are protected. >> yesterday we had heard there was a death at the u.s. consulate of an embassy official. >> in benghazi. >> in benghazi. is this the same incident then? is that death christopher stevens or were there two separate incidents here? >> it sounds to me -- again, i -- even my sources who normally are very good about picking up the phone, everyone is really hunkered down right now. it sounds to me -- because when i left last night i was -- the state department, i was specifically told that it was not chris stevens. i specifically said it's not chris stevens, is it? because it was someone i knew very well and ovenl i didn't even know he was in benghazi and i was told, no, new york, it's not chris stevens. it sounds that there were two incidents from what we were able to piece together t sounds like there was a u.s. officer, u.s. foreign officer killed, they
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were notifying the family. as they were trying to get these other diplomatic personnel, including chris stevens, to safety, it sounds like there was another attack. >> elise labott, thank you. stand by. we'll come back to you. i want to bring in jomana karadsheh. she's on the phone from tripoli. we've been reporting on this one death, jomana, in benghazi. we learned of that late last night. now we're learning about ambassador stevens' death, and these three others, who according to your sources saw their bodies there in benghazi. do you know, are these two separate incidents or not? >> reporter: there are conflicting reports. we're hearing from the foreign minister for the eastern region, where benghazi is, that there were two separate incidents that took place. that seemed to be dismissed by the libyan prime minister when he was asked about it in a news conference earlier. he said that the details of the
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attack and what happened will come out as soon as the investigation is done. they refused to go into the details of what happened. but we do know that the consulate was struck by rocket-propelled grenades, according to eyewitnesses and what we're hearing from security forces. it is a matter of waiting to see if the libyan government does release more information about how this happened. >> okay, jomana, thank you very much. for us in tripoli. we have learned of the deaths of ambassador stevens. also according to the state from secretary clinton, shawn smith, who worked with, husband and father of two. much more after this quick break. r look... ...at the best schools in the world... ...you see they all ve something very interesting in common. they have teachers...
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♪ [ multiple sounds making melodic tune ] ♪ [ male announcer ] at northrop grumman, every innovation, every solution, comes together for a single purpose -- to make the world a safer place. that's the value of performance. northrop grumman. this just in from the pentagon. marine reinforcements are headed
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to libya receipt now. let's bring in barbara starr, one of the first people to report thilive from the pentagon. give us some of the details here, barbara. >> reporter: we are just lea learning that these marines heading to libya will most likely go to the u.s. embassy into tripoli. this is a specially configured marine corps, anti-terrorism security team. marines maintain these teams around the world just for these circumstances, to go in for embassy reinforcement and protection when violence breaks out. john and brooke, we were told there were nomar evens in benghazi. that is not a place where marine corps security is provided. security, of course, happens three ways. u.s. marines, contractors or state department diplomatic security personnel. but the marines were not at benghazi. now on their way to tripoli to reinforce the embassy there.
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john, as you said, the big question now that everyone is asking, was there enough security? is there enough security? are u.s. installations around the world getting the kind of security protection that they need? john, brooke? >> here is my follow-up to that. i know in a lot of instances the security comes from the local folks, the local government security officers. by the fact that we are sending in marines, does that then infer that we don't trust their security forces? >> look, you're absolutely right. the u.s. negotiates security agreements when it puts an embassy or installation in around the world. the host country. the country where we are. it's the one that's responsible for security outside the fence line. u.s. marines don't operate, you know, on the streets of benghazi or tripoli. it's the responsibility of the libyans, egyptians, any country, to maintain enough security so that these mob violence situations don't break out to the point that they threaten the u.s. embassy. this dates all the way back to
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the days in iran. if this kind of violence breaks out, where were the libyan security forces? what were they doing? were they on the scene? the u.s. maintains security but nobody putting an ammered division at every embassy around the world. i mean, this does happen but there will be plenty of questions asked. did they know there was a threat out there? what was the intelligence? could it have been prevented? a terrible, terrible tragedy. there will be a lot of second guessing about all of this. it looks like the president and secretary clinton are now calling for more security at diplomatic installations around the world. >> barbara starr, thank you, from the independepentagon. christopher stevens was a beloved figure in the diplomatic community and played a key role in the development in libya over the last 18 months. he was a representative there from the u.s. to the rebel uprising that began in benghazi, spending a lot of time there as
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ambassador recently. "the new york times" is reporting that a couple of months ago in an e-mail to family and friends, he was describing his first six weeks back in libya and described it as this. the whole aatmosphere has changed for the better, he wrote. people smile more and are much more open with foreigners, americans, french and british are enjoying unusual popularity. let's hope that lasts. he acknowledged the security situation there was still uncertain but said we move around town in armored suvs in security teams watching out for us. of course, that not enough last night when a rocket attack killed him and three other americans in benghazi during protests at the consulate there. r a taste of what's hot? check out the latest collection of snacks from lean cuisine. creamy spinach artichoke dip, crispy garlic chicken spring rolls. they're this season's must-have accessory. lean cuisine. be culinary chic.
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welcome back to "starting point." the u.s. ambassador to libya, chris stevens, and three other staffer, one that has been named, shawn smith, has been killed. benghazi and libya after protesters have stormed the consulate there. >> the head of the ruling party has apologized for the death. they also said this. >> to guard religion for prop t prophet. if anything, one to this kind of cowardice and dirty criminal act that is took place in benghazi
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yesterd yesterday. >> former assistant secretary of state jamie rubin. we were talking about the number of things that went on yesterday. it was september 11th. there were protests in cairo and benghazi and this rocket attack on the u.s. ambassador there. we don't know if there's a connection. it seems like an awfully big coincidence. what's the significance of that, that 11 years after september 11th we still have this going on? >> i think the significance -- i was at the 9/11 ceremony yesterday. it's that america has really started to put to a degree 9/11 behind it. we're worried about our economy. we're worried about many domestic issues. with bin laden dead and with 9/11 so long ago. i would say it's close to moving on. meanwhile, the world has changed and it's changed across the middle east and islamic extremism and those who would commit terrorism are still out
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there. they've come in different forms. they're not in afghanistan the way they were before 9/11, but they're out there in small groups, small numbers spread out across north africa, the middle east and south asia. it's a problem we're going to live with for a long, long time. the political problems of extremists and the military problem of al qaeda. >> jamie, what lesley said earlier, you read those words from ambassador stevens, he's talking about the hope and people are smili and how folks are treated. at some point there's a reality that this is going to be a long slog, a difficult path in order to actually advance freedom. sure, you can gain your freedom. but then you have to really build a country, build an infrastructure. and that takes time. >> that's exactly right. let's face it. libya has not received a lot of
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attention from the west. some, but not very much. remember, part of that, the french government change, nicolas sarkozy, he was voted out of office. his successor probably doesn't care much about libya or focus much about it at all. the british government has been running into some trouble domestically since their advocate -- president obama was deciding to support britain and france. no one country, no one group, no one alliance had the lead in the post-gadhafi libya. this is what happens. >> has it really been the lack of attention or lack of infrastructure or has it been to your point that the radical groups that have been lurking in the shadows, if you will, through the gaud aautographies and the mubara kchks and now th they are gone, this vacuum -- it's sort of like how we go back versus the w. no and the w.
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don't. they're there. >> in post gadhafi libya with no system of government there were bound to be places in which islamic extremists could jump and exploit. that's one point. definitely. would there be less such places if the international community was involved more in trying to help them build? yes, there would be less. it's both things. >> i've had the pleasure of knowing you now for a year, jamie. when libya was in transition, at the very beginning we've had discussions. what roland has asked, what brooke has pointed out, we need to ask the questions, what comes after the bad guy before we take actions? these discussions need to happen before we condemn military action. >> i was much more of an advocate of the united states playing a leading role in libya. i felt we had an opportunity
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here. there was a limited involvement mome momentarily that we could have played a leading role. in that case, america would be in a stronger position to insist on actions from the rebels inside libya, would be in a stronger position to insist on action from our allies, if we had born a larger share of the burden and would have been more likely to stay focused. but one of the problems of being a multi-national perfect situation, since gadhafi left office, there's been no individual in charge worldwide. that's why we would have been less likely to have this sort of problem, had we led in libya. >> we're covering the death of ambassador chris stevens in libya by rocket attacks. stay with us. more coverage is coming up.
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welcome back. we are covering breaking news, the death of the u.s. ambassador, chris stevens, in libya, apparently killed by a rocket attack, along with three other individuals, shawn smith, along with two other americans in that rocket attack in benghazi. >> we know that the white house has confirmed his death this morning. we also heard from secretary of state hillary clinton. we now know it is ambassador stevens and also shawn smith, another one of these workers who was killed. two others as well. we are waiting for information, identification once they notify the families. just glancing at my e-mails with the romney camp, we also know that romney will be addressing

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